Icon info
The Traffic Sign Database: an instrument for…

March 17, 2017

The Traffic Sign Database: an instrument for safer and more sustainable traffic

Recent data shows that every two days, a child dies in a traffic accident involving a lorry. Another fact is that on average, Flanders has 120 speeding-related deaths on its roads every year. Meanwhile, it is perfectly possible to equip vehicles with software that sends freight transport along sustainable routes and which controls speed. The vital component for both of these measures is already available: the Flemish Traffic Sign Database. This came out of a study dubbed ‘Vebimobe’ by Smart Mobility (formerly known as the Flemish Institute for Mobility), in cooperation with UGent.

Flanders has no less than 1.6 million road signs. In 2008, the Flemish government registered these signs in a database. With Vebimobe, (which stands for ‘Intelligent mobility guidance based on the traffic sign database,’) they looked at how the database could help with intelligent speed assistance and creating transport sustainability maps. They also investigated how the database could be used in conjunction with the ‘connected car’ (a car with an internet connection).

The Traffic Sign Database

“Through Vebimobe we were able to prove that it is possible to update the Traffic Sign Database through traffic sign recognition software integrated in modern cars and smart cameras,” says Peter Defreyne, Project Manager for Smart Mobility. “Depending on the application, these sensors could be used to track alterations in the infrastructure and transmit them to the database. With this information, we can make both speed-limit maps and sustainability maps.”

Speed-Limit Maps and Sustainability Maps

Johan De Mol, UGent: “Every year, 30% of all road-traffic fatalities and 15 % of all non-fatal traffic accidents in Flanders are the result of speeding. By implementing speed-limit maps and sustainability maps in vehicles, drivers will automatically receive speed advice and sustainable routes.”

The speed advice can be purely advisory, but it could also be used to act on the motor to prevent excessive acceleration. The information can furthermore be used to analyze driving behavior for fleet operators and insurance companies. The speed-limit map also leads to reduced fuel consumption, reduced emissions and safer behavior on the road.

By integrating sustainability maps, users will be presented with routes that take residential and school zones into account. As a result, an exclusion zone can operate around school environments during the hours at which most children are going to or coming from school.

The importance of the driverless car

Peter Defreyne: “By 2025, most vehicles will be equipped with technology capable of ‘reading’ the road. If the Traffic Sign Database is up to date, it will not only make an essential contribution to improving road safety, it will also play a major role in the deployment of driverless vehicles in Flanders.” The project also helps determine which infrastructures can sustain these types of application and which can’t.

Call for ‘Smart Spaces’

The partners have taken the initiative to use the project research results to generate suitable applications for cities, municipalities and companies. To do this, they’re preparing the ‘Smart Spaces’ initiative.

The Vebimobe project was made possible thanks to the financial support of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Agency.

Project partners

GIM, UGent, Volvo Car, MOW, BIVV, bpost, HR Groep, Geckomatics

More information?


Peter Defreyne, Project Manager Smart Mobility – Antwerp Management School

T +32 11 24 60 00 – M +32 494 15 95 92 – E peter.defreyne@ams.ac.be

Johan De Mol, Senior Researcher UGent

T +32 9 331 32 55 – M +32 486 38 42 44 – E Johan.DeMol@UGent.be

Sandra Vanderniepen, Marketing & Communication

T +32 11 24 60 05 – M +32 494 41 32 90 – E sandra.vanderniepen@ams.ac.be

Expertise Center Smart Mobility

Smart Mobility is an Antwerp Management School expertise center. We aim to find sustainable alternatives for commuting, innovative applications for transport data and new transport concepts. As such, we focus on acquiring and expanding knowledge with which we can develop new or improved tools, methods and services. This knowledge is distributed through publications, courses, seminars, technology transfer and consulting services.


Boogkeers campus AMS management school

Register for our newsletter

Receive updates for the topic of your choice.

Learn More